Friday, March 7, 2014

Family and Letting Go

I guess the title of this post might be a tad misleading. It is about family, and it is about letting go, but not letting go of anyone.

Detail view of Family, a mixed media piece by artist, Melissa Sherbon.
By Family, I mean my latest canvas. It's called Family, and it was a commission with a twist. My best friend's father asked me to paint a piece for him, but he wanted it to represent my own family. I was so touched that my family means that much to him, so of course I couldn't wait to get started on the piece!

Detail view of Family
Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I always doubt myself. I always freak out a little bit over commissions for one reason or another, and this was no different. I started worrying I wasn't going to be able to get my emotions out effectively. That I wouldn't represent my loved ones well. That I wouldn't get into a flow and the piece would never come together. See? I freak out a little!

Well, like always with my creativity, I find inspiration when I least expect it. I was out picking up the canvas and got side tracked in the scrapbook paper. (Who hasn't done that before, right?) I found so much wonderful paper! Ideas started churning, images started popping up, and suddenly I had an arm load of paper and ephemera before I even got to the canvas aisle!

Thankfully, the wave kept up! I tend to be moody during a painting. I have highs and lows, hate it then love it, then hate it again. It's just part of the process sometimes. But not this time! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this piece. It felt like it was flowing from a greater source, and I couldn't be happier with the outcome! It's my favorite piece of mine.

That's where the letting go comes in. 
I really enjoyed the process on this one! the colors came together so well! (Detail of Family.)
I do a lot of pieces that just hang on my own walls. I do a lot of them solely for myself. This piece pushed me to do something I would probably not have undertaken on my own because the subject always seemed too close to me. I'm grateful for this challenge because, even though I have to let it go to a new home, I was pushed to paint something very close to my heart. And that push helped me really think, really connect with all my wonderful family memories and put my whole heart into the piece. 

Family, a 30x30" mixed media painting on canvas by Melissa Sherbon.
So that's what I mean by Family and Letting Go. Family has to be my favorite piece of my work to date, but it just feels right that it won't stay here with me, but go out in the world. Sort of like my actual family... They make the world a little brighter just being out there. And that's exactly what I hope this piece will end up doing!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Has It Really Been a Year?

One of the beautiful views on St. Pete Beach.
WOW! Has it really been almost a year since my last post? I'm so fired!

So much has been going on! The end of 2013 was a whirlwind of activity that seriously changed my life for ever. Don't worry, it was for the better! I grew so much as a person and artist at the end of last year that I can't even fully put it into words, but I'll sure try...

I don't know about you, but I struggle every time I get out a canvas or a piece of paper to work. I was feeling stuck and almost ready to give up and put my paints away for a while until my mojo decided to return. I'd dabble here and there, but I couldn't really find myself anymore. Then, October rolled around.

October is always exciting because I get to celebrate another year of marriage to my wonderful husband, but this October was so much more than I could have ever expected! A day or two before my anniversary (5 years!!!), I got a Facebook message from my friend, Monique. Now, I've never had the pleasure of meeting Monique face to face; we met through our blogs and mutual love for photography and have been Facebook friends for a few years. Anyway, I was doing the ol' Facebook check before getting dinner going, and I had a message from Monique! She said she had signed up for a workshop with Tracy Verdugo in Saint Petersburg, FL and couldn't make it...would I like to take her place?
Some of the beautiful dunes on St Pete Beach, Florida.
I was SO floored! Just plain struck speechless and beyond touched that she thought of me, of all people! I told her, not only was she making my day, month, and year, but helping me mark off a bucket list item! (Tracy Verdugo is one of my favorite artists!) I still haven't found a way to repay her unbridled generosity, but I hope I can some day. 

Just a few of my workshop supplies!
All I can say is, October 2013 was when my mojo returned by way of Tracy's Paint Mojo workshop! It was also the time Life was trying to teach me to accept good things when they happen to me, face my fears, and have heaps and heaps of faith. I was scared to death! My mind started racing...I won't know anyone there! I've never been to St. Pete! I've never been to a workshop, what if I screw up?  There will be real artists there...I'm not anywhere near good enough for this.
Rob stopped me and told me to just breathe. He was right. I wasn't about to let my anxiety screw up another opportunity. This was the chance of a lifetime! I set about collecting my supplies and getting a hotel. A week later, we got up at the crack of dawn and struck out for St. Pete and a workshop that would change my life forever!

I was so nervous! A two and a half hour drive gave my silly brain unlimited time to freak out. I don't know how many times I told Rob I felt like I was a kindergartner on the very first day of school! I was just glad Rob could walk me in and help me get set up. The first few moments were scary...walking in, finding my place, saying hello to a few of the other students. As the room filled up and I unpacked, I got a little more comfortable. Rob kissed me goodbye and I was on my own.

Rischa and her mom, painting their hearts out!
But that was the last time I felt that way! As Tracy started the class, and we met one another and spent time in a wonderful circle on the beach, I wasn't as nervous anymore! And, as it turned out, synchronicity had another hand in the day and I ended up sitting next to someone who would become a sister I never new I had! It just so happened that Rischa and her mom, Mrs. Billie, were my long lost friends. At lunch break, we discovered we were all from the Augusta, GA area, we both have special health issues, we are both introverted creatives, and we both needed this mojo boost! By the end of the second day, we were best friends and soul sisters! 
Rischa and me out and about in DeLand!
The 2013 Paint Mojo Workshop gave me so much more than I could have ever expected. It wasn't just a class, but an awakening. I still can't find the words to give it the justice it deserves. I can't thank Monique enough for the gift and opportunity, I can't thank Tracy enough for helping me find my creative spirit again, and I can't thank the Universe enough for the life long connection I have with everyone in that room. I finally found my Tribe!
My fabulous St. Pete Tribe! Love you ALL!!!!

I had to get a picture with our Tribe leader, Tracy! 
Rischa and I have been inseparable since then...and our husbands, too! I mean, it really feels more like a re-connection with old friends rather than a new one. I feel so blessed! That workshop opened a flood gate of creativity in me that I can't explain. If you ever have the opportunity to take one of Tracy's workshops, DO IT. You won't regret it at all. I didn't just gain knowledge and new techniques. I found an entire new family. A tribe I gather love, strength, and creativity from every single day. I love them all!

So...yeah. There's been a lot going on around here! I've been on a creative wave since then, and I am so thankful! And in 2014, I will try to update more than I did last year. I hope you'll stick around!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Road Trip: Savannah, Georgia
It's been a while since I've stopped to take a moment and write. Life has been crazy in these parts the past few months and I have just needed a break! And to me, a break means a road trip! Who doesn't love a road trip? I know I love them! Well, it's been a while for me and a change of seasons always makes the nomad in me itch to travel.



I just need to GO.

Luckily, I have a best friend that can feel my travel itch from 249 miles away. Deanna had visited me not too long ago, but she still made the trip down to Florida last Tuesday and I was officially kidnapped! So, since last week, I've been enjoying a break from the norm here in beautiful Savannah, Georgia with good friends. Such wonderful friends that we even took another side trip into Aiken, SC to be with my grandmother for her 86th birthday. I had thought I was going to miss it completely, but being able to make the trip really made my grandmother's day!
From the left, my wonderful Aunt Pearline and my sweet, beautiful grandmother! Fatz Cafe was glad to see us, for sure!
I always love to travel and see family, but we were glad to get back to Savannah and sit still for a hot minute, too. Unfortunately, we all decided to catch the crud at the same time. But you know what? Sitting inside is a great time to create! Deanna has an AWESOME creating space, so we have made cards or scrapbooked this week to our hearts' content.

Just to get some fresh air and sunlight, we toured Wormsloe Plantation here in Savannah. (It's beautiful! Go!) The ruins are gorgeous, it's educational, and there's even a 3 mile loop through the woods to enjoy.
Beautiful Wormsloe Plantation and Forsyth Park, both in Savannah, Georgia.
We also ventured downtown a bit and enjoyed Forsyth Park, then some beautiful back road views of the Ogeechee River on our meandering trip back home.
I loved the quiet riverside views at a park just off HWY 17 on the Ogeechee River in Savannah!
We are all getting over our varying degrees of crud, so I'm heading home tomorrow, but I still think this was the best trip in a long while! Hopefully, we'll get the chance to stop along our way home for more photo opportunities. I just can't hold back my inner shutter bug...

I completely agree with whoever said that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. There's certainly nothing that recharges you more than travel and time spent with family! I've collected a lot of pictures and memories in a week and now I'm itching to get home and create with my freshly recharged batteries. What a way to welcome Spring!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Solo Art Exhibit...Check!

What a weekend! It sure was hot, and I sure was busy, but it was fun! 

Last Friday was the finally the time for my solo exhibit for the DeLand 4th Friday Art Walk! Mother nature decided I had to work extra hard for it, so it was inching toward 100°F around time for the festivities with no rain in sight. Thank goodness for wonderful friends and family, too, or I would have never gotten things set up in time!

My adopted family, Deanna and Mary, came all the way from Savannah to help set up for the show. I hope they know that meant the world to me, too. And, my adorable husband gave 110% getting things just right once we got everything set up. If you came by, you probably met him on the street, shaking hands and handing out cards like a mad man. (Thanks, baby!)

Thank you to everyone who stopped by for a visit. I appreciate you coming out in the heat to share my work. I really enjoyed talking techniques and answering questions about my process. I didn't know what to expect for my first solo exhibit, but in all I think I greeted about 50 people!

For those of you who weren't able to make it, here are the new pieces I debuted at the show!
Wander is a 4x12 inch mixed media on canvas. It's one of my favorite quotes! It never fails to motive and inspire me. Leave it to Tolkien to inspire, right? I enjoyed this a lot,

I Want to Ride My Bicycle was inspired by a local contest. I didn't make the deadline to enter, but I still loved my finished piece! The journaling is the lyrics of the chorus to the famous Queen song!

Happier  is sort of self explanatory. Who doesn't love a french fry? I loved this little quote when I saw it on Pinterest, and I just had to put it on canvas!

And, last but not least, Sacred Centers was inspired by my yoga practice and spiritual path. I've really felt the creativity flowing since discovering chakra meditation. This piece is what I imagine my creativity looking like from my soul's perspective.

Thanks again for all the support, and to everyone who came out for the 4th Friday Art Walk! I hope this is just the first of many shows! If you're interested in purchasing prints of my work (originals aren't available just yet so I can get prints made of everything) please visit my shop, Mixed Media Art by Melissa Sherbon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wearable Art Rocks!
I think everyone loves some sort of art. I love all kinds, but even I tend toward aesthetically pleasing every day objects. I'm practical, so sue me! Take bangle bracelets for instance. I love their look. The ornate metals ones, the carved wooden ones...even the trendy plastic ones work with some outfits. I'm more inclined to the wooden carved ones. It's just my inner Bohemian. But you know what? Sometimes all a girl can find are the plastic ones. And sometimes, that's what an idea needs.

I love unique jewelry. I love shopping for it, but I also love making it myself when I just can't find that special piece. So, when I was paint shopping at our local Michael's and came across an entire bin of $1 plastic bangle bracelets, my mind when into overdrive! The 80s are back in force, so most of the bracelets were crazy neon colors, but that didn't matter. I wasn't about to leave them alone and naked. They needed a little personality!

If you know me even a little bit, you know I have a paper fetish. Tissue paper, scrapbook paper, newspaper, vintage book pages...I love them all! This love goes beyond a mild appreciation. I almost always feel completed to cover things with them. Mod Podge is this girl's best friend! So I immediately thought back to a gift I made my sister a few years ago for Christmas.
Thanks to my lovely sister for her modeling talents!
I knew how much my sister loved a bangle, so I decided it'd be a good idea to make one. I went to the Dollar Tree and bought two or three student dictionaries and I was set! I covered her bracelet with words and definitions that described her; a Self Portrait Bracelet of sorts. It's been a few years, so I can't remember most of the really unique words, but I know beautiful, smart, athletic, and outgoing made the list.

I always wished I had made one for myself after giving that to her. So, when I saw that bin of bangles, I dove right in! Three bracelets came home with me, and two have been reborn.
My self portrait bangle! And my new, yummy periwinkle fingernail polish, too!
The first one was my very own Self Portrait bracelet. It's harder for me to pick out self descriptive words than it is to pick out descriptive words for my loved ones, let me tell you. Yeah, I tend to be a little hard on myself sometimes, but this was an exercise is self affirmation. I picked words I thought people should see so they could learn a little bit about me when they read it. You can see artisan, yoga, beach, and fragile. I also included mermaid, artist, woman, peculiar, tender, loving, kind, grateful, wild, shy, divine, awesome, free, and effervescent to name a few more. I wanted to have something that reminded me that sometimes, even if I'm hard on myself, my loved ones see these words in me and that's what counts. It's a pick-my-up every time I wear it!

Right in line with including peculiar on my Self Portrait Bracelet, another strange thing I like to do is collect fortunes from fortune cookies. This is a nice thing to collect since you have to eat Chinese food to get them. Some perk, huh? Being gluten free hasn't stopped my collecting either. I just take the fortune and leave the cookie! 

Well, the down side is seeing how often in your life you eat Chinese food. I have a bucket (it's small!) full of fortune slips. My husband's jaw actually dropped when I brought it out of hiding. I had another bracelet plan. I rummaged through my many many fortunes and took my absolute favorites out for this project. 
I love fortune cookie slips!
Most of them are inspirational or thought provoking. Then there's the comic relief favorite: "Beware of cookies bearing fortunes." I love that one! This bracelet has 20 fortunes on the outside and 12 on the inside. It's my little reminder to always be mindful and live in the moment!

I'm still thinking about what I should do with the other blank bangle. I'm feeling colorful about it though. We'll see what happens!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

DeLand 4th Friday Art Walk: Three Days to Go!

Love my supplies!
Wow! I can't believe the time has flown by so fast! It seems like yesterday when I was asked to participate as an exhibiting artist in the DeLand 4th Friday Art Walk...but it's been five weeks! The good news? I've gotten a lot of work done in those few short weeks and there will be five never-before-seen pieces to display! There's nothing like a looming deadline to get the juices flowing, is there?

excerpt of Wander, mixed media on canvas
Deadlines aren't my only inspiration, of course. I like finding inspiration in anything and everything. Some of my favorite muses are quotes. I follow a bevy of inspirational quote pages on Facebook, so I always have something passing through to read and get me thinking. I even keep a notebook close by to jot down my favorites!

One of my all time favorite quotes comes to us courtesy of J.R.R. Tolkien: Not all who wander are lost. I love to wander, so it's always encouraging to be reminded that sometimes, the detours I take might be a better path than the one I was following in the first place. In honor of this wonderful quote, I had to put it on canvas! Here's a sneak peek before Friday's exhibit. You'll have to come out to DeLand Friday evening to see the rest for now. Don't worry, if you aren't able to make it, I'll be posting pictures from the show as soon as I can. I promise!

I also get inspiration from contests. I was so excited about one local art contest, then I didn't get things finished in time to enter...but that doesn't mean I can't share the piece with you! A local art gallery in New Smyrna Beach held the contest. The theme was Bicycles and I had a blast coming up with this piece. OK, I'll give you a sneak peek...

excerpt of I Want to Ride My Bicycle, mixed media on canvas

Another wonderfully addictive source for inspiration is Pinterest. LORD, the hours I have spent pinning! It's shameful and there should really be a 12 step program... Yeah, it's that addictive.

Anyway, Happier is a piece inspired by a quote floating around on Pinterest: "Today, I will be happier than a bird with a french fry." Every time I hear or read that line, my heart smiles! Who hasn't been lucky enough to see a little bird discover a french fry he gets to have all to himself? It's the definition on happy!
excerpts of Happier, mixed media on canvas
My yoga practice also greatly inspires me, so there will me a few pieces on display any yogis in the crowd might appreciate. Sacred Centers is one of them...
excerpt of Sacred Centers, mixed media on vintage book page
These are just some of the pieces I'll have on display this weekend at the 4th Friday Art Walk in DeLand! I hope this has whet your appetite a little. By the way, I'm not the only artist, either! Make sure you plan to visit DeLand if you are in the Daytona Beach or Orlando areas this weekend because DeLand truly loves their Artist Community! My work will be on exhibit from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Got Knots on New York Avenue. (Get more info about the event here!) Come by and visit, sign up to win a free massage from the amazing Got Knots, then hit the Artist Alley for loads more awesome art and culture. You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

An Art Adventure in DeLand, Florida!

I had a big day Friday! My husband and I were lucky enough to participate in the West Volusia County Explorers program. Basically, you let the tourism office know you are interested, and they call you up and set up the Where, When, and What you will be exploring. Wouldn't you know it, we were fortunate enough to be heading to the Museum of Florida Art, right here in DeLand! Picasso, Girl before a Mirror c. 1932
Though we moved to DeLand back in November, we had yet to visit the museum. It's awesome, so if you are in the area it's a must visit. It might be small compared to other places, but there's still some beautiful and intriguing art to be seen. On exhibit was the original piece, Iconoclass by New Smyrna Beach artist Harold Garde. The piece is an imposing  8' x 24' acrylic mural on Masonite and covered much of the far wall in the first downstairs gallery. The style reminded me some what of one of my favorite Picasso paintings, Girl Before a Mirror. As we learned from the film playing, the mural was adapted to be part of the brand new sign the museum just added to their facade. Turns out a lot of people didn't notice the museum and thought it was part of the Stetson University campus. The sign is beautiful, so now the world driving by should know there's art waiting inside! The museum asks that you not take pictures, so you'll just have to stop by and see the mural in person to appreciate it.

I really enjoyed the other gallery's offerings as well. I'd never heard of Strappo before, so I assumed it was the artist's name. Not so! According to the Museum of Florida Art, Strappo is a combination of painting and printmaking utilizing the plastic nature of acrylic paint to produce a monotype. Harold Garde was also the main artist in this exhibit, in addition to other local artists in a juried exhibit using the same technique. First, the artist paints in layers on the surface of clean glass, then the dry layers are pulled away from the glass as one piece. It was pretty cool to watch the film as Garde demonstrated his process. I'm a fool for watching other artists work. You always learn something new! Now I've added Strappo to my list of things to try.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Museum of Florida Art. I couldn't believe we hadn't gone for a visit sooner! After our art date, the hubby and I decided to take a little stroll in downtown DeLand. Right across from the tourism office is the Volusia County Courthouse and Chess Park.
DeLand has a lot of beautiful old architecture to enjoy! This is the view of the courthouse from Chess Park.
Beautiful Chess Park in Historic Downtown DeLand, Florida.
 There wasn't any chess playing going on during our visit due to the off and on rain showers, but it was a beautiful spot to enjoy a short stroll with my sweetheart. And they had public bathrooms. That helps.
The beautiful wall fountain of Chess Park in DeLand, FL.
The showers chased us back to the car, but I'm glad we explored another little corner of our new hometown.  There's a great art community and loads to do and see here in DeLand.  I'm pretty glad we landed here!